A Must See: <br>Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis

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Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis' current program of exhibitions offers a stellar example of the dynamic curatorial tactics for which the museum has become known. Alongside "Aïda Ruilova: The Singles 1999 - Now," the first U.S. solo museum show of the New York artist's compulsive, viscerally demanding video loops, the Contemporary presents Berkeley-based artist Lutz Bacher's Spill, one in a three-part project that includes the publication of SMOKE (Gets in Your Eyes) and My Secret Life, a solo exhibition at P.S.1 scheduled for 2009. While the P.S.1 exhibition promises to be a more conventional survey of the artist's 40-year career, Spill is anything but ordinary. Bacher centers the show around eclectic, site-specific installation Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart, which features a grouping of life-size Star Trek characters; shattered guitar debris; intersecting, curved ramps; and a multi-channel video of a line-drawing traveling, in anthropomorphic fashion, over a monochromatic landscape. An old Budweiser sign and beer cases draw the exhibition's second space into conversation with St. Louis (Anheuser-Busch's headquarters), motion sensors in the museum courtyard trigger a sound installation, and displays of Bacher's earlier works are periodically supplemented or removed. Considering the diverse quality of the artist's output, which has always relied on appropriation strategies and "deliberately migrates between methods, styles, and attitudes," the piecemeal, shape-shifting nature of Spill seems on point. As if to supplement the exhibition's provisional ethos, the Contemporary's Front Room will concurrently mount a series of shows ranging from one day to a few weeks in length, often by younger artists and collectives indebted to Bacher's practice. Reena Spaulings, Claire Fontaine and Dexter Sinister will all take a turn. - Tyler Coburn


Image: Lutz Bacher, Spill, 2007, black and white photograph with unknown substance, 50 x 83 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Taxter & Spengemann, New York

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